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Liberia: Court Sets Murder Suspect Free Due to Government’s Failure to Prosecute

Monrovia — The First Judicial Circuit, Criminal Court ‘A’ at the Temple of Justice has set free a murder suspect identified as Saah Joseph due to the Ministry of Justice’s failure to prosecute the man.

Defendant Joseph was released on Monday, August 21, 2023, by Judge Roosevelt Willie after he (the defendant) spent seven years behind bars at the Monrovia Central Prison without having his day in court to face prosecution for the alleged crimes.

Judge Willie, in his ruling, stated that having listened to the application by the prosecution attorney requesting the court to release the defendant, “the said application and the case against the defendant in the dock are dismissed without prejudice to the State; the defendant is hereby set free,” the judge said.

Judge Willie, in open court, explained that at the call of the case and while representations were being made, the prosecution prayed the court for a submission, which submission was subsequently granted.

The judge further explained that during the submission by state prosecutors, they asked the court to make use of Section 18.1 of the criminal procedure law titled “dismissal for failure to proceed with prosecution.”

He indicated that, according to the prosecution, since the defendant was arrested, the state made every effort for the prosecution of the said case, but to no avail.

According to Judge Willie, the defendant’s counsel told the court that they interposed no objection to the submission of the prosecution even though the defendant had been in jail for seven years.

The defendant was arrested, investigated, charged, and indicted during the May Term of Court, A.D. 2017, for the commission of the crime of murder.

Since his indictment, the state has exhausted every frantic effort to ensure that justice is dispensed freely and fairly. However, it has not only been difficult but also impossible for the state to proceed with the matter on its merits.

Hence, prosecution has entered a plea to dismiss the said indictment against the criminal defendant Saah Joseph and gives notice to the court that this application is made without prejudice to the State. The prosecution reserves the right to invoke Section 18.3 if the need arises, for which the prosecution most respectfully prays and submits.

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